I, too, thank the rapporteur for a very good report. Despite the extent and complexity of the problem of violence at school, the report provides a good analysis of it. Although the recommendation may not identify the most efficient ways of dealing with the problem, the attempt to find the best solutions deserves our full appreciation.
I would like to comment on three key factors mentioned in the report that may affect violent behavior. The first factor is the family. I was glad to find in the report this statement: “Despite the changes in the modern world, it is parents who play the key role in a child’s education.” Strong and healthy families have been and will remain the key factor in a peaceful and harmonious society. We cannot ignore that too many families across Europe face huge pressures and challenges today. Therefore, we need to call on the member states to develop and adopt policies that are meant to support the well-being of families.
The second factor is school. On the one hand, reforms to education policies improved the school climate, but on the other hand, as the education methods become more democratic, the pupils are more aggressive. That is a paradox. It seems as though the replacement of authoritarian teaching methods by non-authoritarian ones missed the point. A non-authoritarian style should not mean a lack of authority. Both institutions - family and school - must act with authority, but also with responsibility, respecting children’s rights. It is also important to bear in mind that, as the report rightly says, insufficient funding of schools leads to large classes of pupils and reduction in the number of teachers, which is another a cause of violence at school. In this context, it is regrettable that organizations such as International Monetary Fund put pressure on poor countries to implement such unpopular reforms.
The third factor is media. The impact of media - including electronic media, video games, and information technologies - on children psychology and behavior is overwhelming. The use of the Internet has permitted unthinkable developments in communication. As children use the Internet in ways beyond our imagination, we must take into consideration what internet offers them. One example given to the Social, Health, and Family Affairs Committee today was of someone who was arrested in 2009 for child pornography and who had 4 million pictures of children. Blocking such sites and deleting such images should be mandatory. However, as servers are located in different countries, we need cooperation on European and international levels. We should also call on member states to launch national action plans against violence in media and to initiate legislation to make Internet providers, including the internet search engines, responsible for the content on their sites.
By adopting the recommendation, we will hopefully not just raising the public awareness of the problem, but making tangible progress in combating the children violence at school. I will conclude with a proverb of King Solomon: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”